Invasive exotic species cost Floridians $500 million dollars each year (www.floridainvaders.org ). These species are not native to Florida and were brought here by human activity. Some invasive species were planted by well-meaning gardeners, some hitchhiked with plants or other products. Some were part of the pet trade and then released into the wild by owners who did not understand the possible impacts.
Depending on the invasive exotic species in question, they may smother native plants, clog waterways, poison livestock, destroy agricultural crops, alter soil conditions, degrade water quality so as to kill fish, eat native wildlife, and more. Invasive species sometimes make news such as the exotic pythons now found in the Everglades. Others are more quietly doing their damage.
Orlando Wetland Park’s Education Center will be featuring invasive exotics for August and September. The display will help educate the public about local invasive exotics and the problems they cause. The more we understand invasive exotic species, the better we will be equipped to prevent, detect and respond to their invasions. For more information visit Orlando Wetlands Park in August or September or visit www.floridainvaders.orgJuly 31, 2012 – Mary Keim